Sir Richard Branson, the English business icon, has dyed his beard, his eyebrows and some of his hair green. The Virgin website will also take a green hue for the day. As part of the global greening initiative, Branson will also spread the St. Patrick's Day cheer by tweeting a picture of himself to his 3 million followers worldwide.
Sir Richard Branson said: "The whole world is going green for St Patrick’s Day and when I was asked what I would turn green for the day – it just had to be the beard! We’re always up for some fun at Virgin (our website has had a ‘green-over’ too), and would like to wish all our friends from Ireland and Tourism Ireland a very Happy St Patrick's Day. It’s great to see Ireland getting back on its feet again and outperforming many other nations affected by the global financial crisis. I look forward to visiting your beautiful country again very soon."
Niall Gibbons, chief executive of Tourism Ireland, said that the response to the organisation’s ‘greening’ idea has been phenomenal everywhere. “Our ‘greening’ initiative has got even bigger and better this year, with some famous additions like the Pyramids of Giza, the Christ the Redeemer statue in Brazil, Anfield stadium in Liverpool, the Eye Film Institute in Amsterdam, the Kingdom Tower in Saudi Arabia, the Gateway of India in Mumbai and even the Friends Arena in Stockholm, where the Republic of Ireland takes on Sweden later this month in the World Cup qualifying campaign.
“We aim to bring a smile to the world this weekend and to convey the message that Ireland offers the warmest of welcomes and great fun, as well as fantastic scenery and cultural activities. Our St Patrick’s programme spans Great Britain, Mainland Europe, North America, Australia and New Zealand, as well as emerging tourism markets like China, India, the Middle East and South Africa. We are using every opportunity to capitalise on Ireland’s heightened profile this weekend; the saturation coverage about Ireland across the global airwaves, in newspapers and digital media, is an invaluable boost for our overall tourism marketing drive this year.”
About 70 landmark buildings and iconic sites around the world have already gone, or are set to go, green this weekend to celebrate St Patrick’s Day. They include the Sydney Opera House, the London Eye, Selfridges in London, Niagara Falls, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, Burj al Arab in Dubai and the Prince’s Palace of Monaco.